He may have lacked precision and showmanship and he did write Octopuss Garden. But those who dismiss Ringo as a journeyman who got lucky wildly underestimate a rhythmic powerhouse
In 1983, the British comedian Jasper Carrott made an unhelpful contribution to Beatles legend when he coined a joke that would go down in history: Ringo isnt the best drummer in the world, he quipped. He isnt even the best drummer in the Beatles.
It resonated, to the extent that it entered into Beatles lore as the wisdom of John Lennon. That was eventually debunked by Beatles expert Mark Lewisohn but the misrepresentation says a great deal about the publics perception of Ringo Starr: a non-musician who got lucky, a journeyman alongside three musical geniuses.
This is total nonsense. Ringo, whose new album Give More Love has just come out, wasnt just the funniest Beatle, the life and soul of those early press conferences; and he wasnt just the best drummer in the Beatles. He was the best drummer for the Beatles.
This is a vital distinction to make. His beats may not have had the furious technical clarity of Led Zeppelins John Bonham, say, or the phenomenal precision of James Browns drummer, Clyde Stubblefield. But what he had was perfect for the Beatles, where Bonham would have been too showy and Stubblefield too tight.